Slum dwellers benefit from waste management initiative

A section of Kipsongo slum in Kitale town, Trans Nzoia county. [File, Standard]

Residents of Kipsongo slum in Kitale town, Trans Nzoia County have benefited from a waste management initiative by the county government and a local non-governmental organization.

The initiative addresses the collection of solid waste and the rehabilitation of drainage systems, to curb potential environmental hazards and prevent pollution of the Kipsongo River.

Chief Officer of Environment and Water in Trans Nzoia County Dorothy Nyukuri, said the county generates a staggering 150 tonnes of solid waste daily, with only 70 tonnes currently being collected.

Nyukuri warned that the failure to collect the remaining 80 tonnes could lead to blockage of drainage, posing a threat to the Kipsongo River, which flows from Kitale Medium prison through the Kipsongo slum.

The Chief Officer urged youths and women to form groups to access the government Nawiri fund, promoting waste recycling for livelihood opportunities.

"Youth can recycle the solid waste to make organic manure, tiles, ornaments, flower pots, extract fuel, and create other decorations to make money," said Nyukuri.

Everyday Care for Africa CEO, Diana Doychinova, underscored the importance of community engagement in waste management.

Doychinova said the organization's mission is to sensitize families on managing solid waste at the household level, emphasizing the need to dispose off in designated areas.

"Children, elders, and women are the most vulnerable, and we should continue this exercise even beyond the enhanced rains," she said, noting the long-term impact of sustainable waste management on community health.

Eunice Litwiller, treasurer of People Restoring Our Own Future (PROOF), sensitized residents on the importance of segregating biodegradable waste from plastics.

Litwiller encouraged the separation of plastic bottles, glass bottles, and other plastic materials to ease disposal.

Stuart Litwiller, the President of PROOF, emphasized the need to sensitize the community on the importance of greening the country, carbon credit, the economic value of a good environment, and a change of mindset on indiscriminate disposal of solid waste for self-wealth creation.

Margret Kasisi, a resident called on the National Environment Management Authority to enforce the ban on plastic papers and bags.

She raised alarm over the influx of plastic bags from Uganda through unofficial routes to markets in Kenya.

Saleh Moluhando, a resident of Kipsongo slum, said it was vital to involve citizens at the grassroots level in combating climate change.

"With enhanced rains, these initiatives not only protect against immediate threats but also lay the groundwork for a resilient and eco-friendly community well into the future," Muhando stated.